Grinnell Glacier Trail— Mo. from America's 12 Best Running Trails

America's 12 Best Running Trails

Grinnell Glacier Trail— Mo.

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Located in Montana's Glacier National Park, Hicks says this route covers about 7.6 miles out and back. The trail’s first two miles are mostly flat but past that point runners can expect a gradual incline up to the end.  “From bighorn sheep to bears, lots of wildlife sightings are possible in addition to the gorgeous turquoise blue ice of the glacier itself,” says Hicks. Oh yeah, and be sure to follow safety instructions. Hicks says this hike travels through grizzly-bear habitat.

Superior Hiking Trail— Minn.

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Hick’s describes this trail as “true Midwestern wilderness.” The entire route stretches over 296 miles and offers everything from cliffs and hills to forest wildlife. “It's not uncommon to see moose or to hear Timberwolves howl,” says Hicks. “The views of Lake Superior are so lovely,” she adds.

Longs Peak Keyhole Route— Colo.

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Grant says this trail’s Keyhole Route, starting at the East trailhead, is the standard and most accessible path up the mountain. “The trail climbs a couple thousand feet to tree line before working its way north west to Granite Pass,” he says. “There is a cut off trail west before the pass for the Chasm Lake trail which is a nice alternative route if you're not feeling up to going all the way to the summit of Longs Peak, but still want amazing views of the Diamond and Chasm Lake.” A route he describes as long and strenuous, Grant says that once past Granite Pass the trail heads into the Boulder Fields which features challenging third class terrain. You’ll then run through The Narrows and The Homestretch just before reaching the summit at 14,255 feet. He warns that runners should pay attention to the weather before heading out on this trail and advises an early start in order to avoid lightning storms.

Needles District, Canyonland National Park— Utah

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“It's hard to pick one trail or route in this spider web of singletrack, but any hike through the red needles and fins of sandstone is worth it,” says Hicks. “Whatever route you choose, make sure it includes visits to the grassy expanse of Chesler Park and the tight squeeze of the Joint Trail.” She recommends that runners in search of an extended adventure should add in the out-and-back trail to Druid Arch.

White Mountains— N.H.

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“What's great about the Whites is the variety of routes,” says Hobbs. “Rocks, creeks, slick footing in spots, trees, roots, vistas, elevation changes… It’s truly magical.” What’s more, runners conquering extra-long distances have the option to stay in one of the mountain’s overnight huts. “Some iconic traverses incorporating some of the high points in the Whites can make for a fun, long grind on a summer day,” adds Hobbs.

Barr Trail— Colo.

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Hobbs says this is the most notable and widely used trail in the Colorado Springs area. At 11.8 miles long and with an ascent of 7,900 feet, the route, which finishes at an altitude of 14,115 feet at Pikes Peak, is challenging and vigorous. For other enticing (and less arduous) options in the area, Hobbs also recommends checking out Monument Valley, Stratton Open Space, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Palmer Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, and the Mueller State Park.

South and North Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon— Ariz.

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The reason Clark loves this route is simple: for a rim-to-rim run of the Grand Canyon, he says this is as classic as it gets. A favorite for Hobbs too, she says it includes a variety of terrain, ecosystem and elevation changes, and different distance routes with opportunities for runners to  run point-to-point, out-and-back or round trip.  “What's not to like about running in one of the most scenic spots in the world?” she says.

Dipsea Trail— Calif.

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Part of California’s East Bay Trail System, the Dipsea Trail is about 9.5 miles round trip and on clear days offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, and Mt. Tamalpais. Hobbs describes the route, which is host to three different trail races throughout the year, as incredible. For the most part, this trail is accessible year-round but Hobbs warns runners to beware of “mud season” during the winter which sometimes creates unsafe conditions.

Alyeska Mountain Trails— Alaska

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Hobbs recommends the Aleyska Mountain trails because their proximity to the Aleyska Ski Resort makes them easily accessible and the routes here offer grand views of the Chugach Mountains. But easy access doesn’t mean runners shouldn’t be prepared for rugged, backcountry terrain and wildlife encounters. Before attempting these trails, Hobbs recommends that runners learn about bears and moose and what to do when running in the remote areas.

Berry Picker Trail— Colo.

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Hobbs says that this trail is great for a short distance up Vail Mountain. About 3 miles long, the Berry Picker is a winding single-track route that connects with many other trails on the mountain. “The wildflowers in the late summer are incredible and the leaves changing in the fall are spectacular,” says Hobbs. Plus, hungry runners will be happy to find a restaurant at the top and the Vail Recreation District hosts a series of races here from May to September.

Vermont Long Trail— Vt.

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Clark calls this gnarly trail “quintessentially New England.” The oldest thru-trail in the country, it covers 270 miles and is one of Clark’s favorite multi-day options. But runners beware:  according to Clark this route “serves up quite a beating.”

Government Canyon State Natural Area— Texas

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Located in the Texas Hill Country on the north side of San Antonio, Howard named this rugged range of land for its rocky, single track routes surrounded by a forest landscape full of live oak, ashe juniper, and mountain laurel.

America's 12 Best Running Trails